The 8 Pillars for Healthy Living

Dr Kem Thompson GP will be Keep The Faith’s health columnist.   Her first column looks at the eight ‘pillars’ people should have in their lives to enjoy optimum health  

A vast majority of chronic degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and cancer are largely man-made, and are usually diagnosed decades after the damage causing them initially started.

Below is a framework I use to help patients reverse chronic illnesses, such as the ones listed above. Fasting and praying, hooting and hollering, and quoting Scriptures won’t make a difference if you do not ACT on what you know. Faith without works is DEAD.

So, if you suffer from any of the above diseases, go through this overview to see which ‘pillar’ you are weak in. Then strive to strengthen it.

1. A Renewed Mind

The only way your health will be transformed is by renewing your mind.  This includes renewing your faith, belief system and perceptions. It also deals with stress management, self-esteem and confidence, self-motivation, self-discipline and, in general, your mindset.

Your perception or beliefs influence your behaviour and habits, which in turn influence your results for good or bad.  Your body responds – even at a cellular level – to your thoughts. Your cells release chemicals, whose actions depend on the thoughts you are feeding your mind with.

When you respond in a negative way to life issues, your cells release the ‘stress’ hormone. Prolonged release of this hormone is linked to several diseases, including hypertension and diabetes. Your stress levels are largely under your control – you’ve got the power to choose thoughts that empower you rather than make you sick.

Renew your mind daily by studying Scripture with a view to ACTING on what you read. Learn how to manage your stress and build a healthy self-esteem, self-image, self-concept, and your health will improve.

2. Adequate Hydration

You should aim to drink enough water each day, in order to function optimally. Your cells are made up of 75% water and, if you don’t drink enough water, your body borrows it from other parts of the body, in order to provide the vital parts with water to keep you alive. As a result, the less vital parts suffer, and you get symptoms of dehydration, such as headaches, body and joint pains, irritability, tiredness, heart burn, etc.

Aim to drink 33ml times your body weight (in kg) of water each day – more, if you exercise or drink anything that dehydrates you, eg. caffeine-containing drinks, alcohol, etc.

3. Adequate Nutrition

You must eat the right types of healthy carbohydrates, healthy fats, healthy proteins, in a proportion that depends on your ‘metabolic type’. No one ‘diet’ fits all.

You must also take high quality, comprehensive, complete and balanced nutritional supplements daily, to provide optimal levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for your cells. The Department of Agriculture has reports confirming that there is a significant amount of nutrient depletion in our soils, because of modern farming practices. If it’s not in your soil, it’s not in your food. So you need to supplement what you’re eating.

4. Adequate Physical Activity and Posture

You must exercise regularly. This should include at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three times a day; strength training with weights for at least 20 minutes every other day, and stretching for flexibility daily.  If you start with baby steps, you can build up to optimal levels of physical activity, especially if you wish to reverse disease.

5. Adequate Oxygenation

You must breathe well enough to ensure your cells have enough oxygen for you to function optimally. This includes deep breathing exercises, physical exercise and laughter.  Now you know why the Bible says laughter is like medicine, so find reasons to laugh each day.

6. Adequate Sunlight

Vitamin D doesn’t just give you strong bones and teeth, it affects the functioning of most every cell in your body, and boosts your immunity, Therefore a host of illnesses occur when your levels are lower than normal. It also acts as a powerful antibiotic and anti-tumour agent (levels are often low in people suffering from fibroids, breast and prostate cancer).

Symptoms of insufficient levels include tiredness, recurrent infections, especially chest infections, allergies, muscle aches, etc.  To find out your level, ask your doctor to test for ‘serum (25, OH) Vitamin D’. They will tell you how much you need to take if you are insufficient or deficient.

7. Adequate Rest

You must get enough sleep each night. A lot of your body’s restorative and growth processes take place while you sleep. ‘Experts’ seem to agree that 6-7 hours of sleep minimum per night is enough for most adults.

8. Support

Studies show that being part of a support system helps you to maintain a good habit. Studies also show that people in a stable relationship are generally healthier, and have fewer incidences of mental illness, than those who are not.

You must be plugged into a proactive support system if you are to establish, build and maintain these eight pillars for your healthy life.

Dr Kem Thompson is a GP, author and speaker.  She is the Medical Director at The Healthy Lifestyle Clinic in North London, and is author of the book, Inspirational Blueprints for Personal Success for Women. Visit for more information.

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